The pattern of the mount
By Elaina Simpson
From the January 2024 issue of The Christian Science Journal
Sometimes we may feel as though we are stuck in a pattern of negative thoughts and experiences, believing we are a compilation of characteristics handed down by our parents, or a result of events, habits, or challenges. If you’ve ever felt this way, there is a permanent solution.
For example, a friend once struggled with addictive behaviors and felt unable to break this negative practice no matter how hard they tried. The habits and the ruminating made my friend feel as if they were on a hamster wheel. Eventually, turning away from mere human willpower and a view of themselves as separate from God, and with the prayerful support of a Christian Science practitioner, they experienced a moral and spiritual clarifying and propulsion. And after some days of persistent prayer, the addictions were healed—permanently, through spiritual study and prayer alone. This resulted in blessings in all aspects of my friend’s experience.
We may wonder whether entrenched patterns of thought and behavior can be healed in our own experience, as well. How can this happen?
Prayer reveals how Christ breaks patterns of thought and behavior that go against our spiritual nature, and brings healing.
It is helpful to consider what model we are truly formed after. As children of God, we reflect God, good. We are made by God—formed and designed after complete good, not after unhealthy or limiting perspectives or ideals.
The study of Christian Science shows that the repetition of undesirable traits and habits is the manifestation of a limited, material view, where man is believed to be separate from God, vulnerable to hopeless or unjust situations, and subject to mesmeric pulls of thought toward unhealthy desires. But the Bible offers another standpoint—that we are truly spiritual, made only by God and showing forth His good nature. Paul wrote to the Galatians, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22, 23, New International Version).
Through prayer and spiritual growth, the understanding of this divine law brings us freedom from limiting beliefs, customs, and behaviors. Prayer also reveals how Christ, the true idea of God and spiritual creation that Jesus expressed, breaks patterns of thought and behavior that go against our spiritual nature, and brings healing.
In the Bible, God is described as directing Moses to make a sanctuary for Him, with specific instructions detailing its furnishings. God says, “And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount” (Exodus 25:40).
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, refers to that verse three times in her published writings. To me, the verse speaks to our daily practice and demonstration of Spirit, where we express righteousness—right thinking, speech, and action—and reject suggestions that perpetuate ungodlike thoughts and actions. It is symbolic that Moses went to a mountain—a high place in thought—and glimpsed the pattern. It was also here that he received the Ten Commandments. Like Moses, we too can hold a high thought about the true, spiritual, immortal model after which man is formed, and live the Ten Commandments.
Prayer based on divine law helps break the tendency to ruminate and repeat false beliefs about ourselves or others that are out of alignment with God and His spiritual idea. Self-condemnation, hopelessness, feelings of victimization, along with dwelling on the past or anxieties concerning the future, are aggressive suggestions which can be refuted whenever they arise in thought. Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures instructs, “When the first symptoms of disease appear, dispute the testimony of the material senses with divine Science” (Mary Baker Eddy, p. 390). Disputing and refuting any wrong pattern of thought, whether a trait, habit, or disease, is essential to spiritual healing. Such a pattern is unlike God’s image and likeness, and is therefore a lie about man.
Moses adhered to the divine idea of man by seeing with spiritual sense rather than falling for the outward, material sense testimony. The false concept is only represented by the physical senses, which don’t see the true, spiritual model. Mrs. Eddy explains: “The senses, not God, Soul, form the condition of beautiful evil, and the supposed modes of self-conscious matter, which make a beautiful lie. Now a lie takes its pattern from Truth, by reversing Truth. So evil and all its forms are inverted good. God never made them; . . .” (Unity of Good, pp. 52–53). Spiritual sense guides us to stay alert in our prayers, and to allow Truth to break a false pattern.
As we understand that God is Love and completely good, we realize that the infinite neither is formed by nor can form anything unlike Love. God is not a personality, passion, or physical impulse—therefore man is not modeled after any of these. We are God’s image and likeness, complete and good, so any discordant characteristic is false and unnatural. Knowing this breaks false patterns of thought based on mortality, and turns us to our true nature as God’s expression. Christlike love shows us that it’s divinely natural for our true identity to shine through any false sense of man as mortal.
Following God’s laws frees us from repeated errors. These laws are already established, and divine Love pierces through the false belief of any long-standing error or disease. It takes commitment, persistence, patience, and trust to see both the law and love that is already here for all.
Love pierces through the false belief of any long-standing error or disease.
This hymn verse is a perfect explanation for how my friend was healed of addictive behaviors, and why no one can continue in a wrong behavior:
God could not make imperfect man His model infinite; Unhallowed thought He could not plan, Love’s work and Love must fit. Life, Truth and Love the pattern make, Christ is the perfect heir; The clouds of sense roll back, and show The form divinely fair.
(Mary Alice Dayton, Christian Science Hymnal, No. 51)
In my own experience, I’ve witnessed healings after I’ve mentally disputed and refuted, in prayer, a false view of myself. A firm mental “no” to a claim of evil gives it no lodgment, no attachment, no possibility to occur or recur. When the Christ shows us what is true about God, good, and therefore about ourselves, the lie has no foothold. Each time a false habit of thought or behavior has been broken, I’ve learned more about my origin as a daughter of God. I’m so grateful that “mortal man, as mind or matter, is neither the pattern nor Maker of immortal man” (Mary Baker Eddy, Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 103).
It can be tempting to take in a false suggestion. But understanding spiritual law and the Love that undergirds and enforces it, we each can overcome any such suggestion, no matter what it is or claims to be. We are each capable of seeing with our God-given spiritual sense and staying watchful of what we take into our thinking. The Christ enables us to take in what’s good, instead of taking in a lie. We each have the ability to witness the pattern of the mount—God’s perfect model. Have a great evening,
For updates on future posts, you can subscribe here
Read or listen to Science and Health online for free
Purchase Science and Health